I recently acquired a short Datsun UK press release relating to the NRVII (Nissan Research Vehicle II) from 1983 which lead me to take a closer look at this concept. This car was a pretty advanced project for its time which featured all sorts of technology that today is commonplace such as a navigation system, automatic lights and wipers, tyre pressure warning as well adaptive cruise control. Based on a B11 Sunny (Sentra), the RVII ran a methanol powered turbocharged 1.3 (E13 engine) which put out 120bhp. Along with the weight savings (over an already light car!) afforded by the use of plastics for things like the windows, fuel tank and even the wheels, this must have been a pretty lively performer!
About a month ago I posted up a fantastic Nissan brochure for 1970 which covered some of the concept cars as well as the model range from that year. I have a few brochures of this sort from what was arguably Nissan’s golden age, where they were producing some advanced, nicely styled and very well engineered cars as well as showing of some pretty wild concepts. The brochure shown here is one of a couple I have from 1971 and it covers the 216X concept car as well a a beautifully illustrated company history section, which unfortunately for us Europeans, is all in Japanese! Click through to have a look…
At the very start of the 1970s, Nissan were very busy developing all manner of advanced projects and concept cars. Fortunately for us, they were also very keen on producing quite elaborate and informative brochures. This one is from 1970 and is absolutely packed with interesting stuff, even though the text is all in Japanese. There’s the wild concept cars, the Nissan 126X, the Cherry based 270X and the 315x electric car. There’s some lesser known projects such as the 130 based Cedric EL Special which made use of complex (for 1970!) electronics technology and the 150 model President Proto-AX which featured advanced emissions controls. There’s also Nissan’s experimental gas turbine engine, a mention of air bags and craziest of all a steam powered 510 wagon! Plus there’s a beautifully illustrated guide to their model line up at the time. Click through to take a look…
I have to confess that I do find it hard to get excited about new Nissan models these days, particularly the everyday regular cars, but the new Nissan IDx concepts are a really interesting idea and one which I hope signals some change of direction in styling. Ironically, in this video it seems they that whilst they talk about designing these cars for people who aren’t interested in cars, they have actually created something that interests car enthusiasts a great deal! Just imagine these with a lively DOHC up front and rear wheel drive… a budget driver’s car of the kind they haven’t really built for years.
Clearly these concepts have a retro vibe to them and certainly evoke the spirit of the legendary Datsun 510, especially the Nismo IDx with it’s BRE style graphics. I actually prefer the IDx Freeflow to the Nismo version and were it to be brought into production looking as the concept does, I’d seriously want to have one…. providing of course that it was utterly dismall under the skin! As with all good things though, I’d wager there’s next to no chance of getting something from Nissan that’s this exciting and even if the concept should move forward, it’d no doubt be re-worked and cost-cut until it was just another Nissan Note or Pixo. It’d be nice to be proved wrong….
Many Nissan enthusiasts regard it as a great loss that the Mid-4 concept of the late 1980’s never reached production, despite extensive development and some very favourable reviews in the media. However, the Mid-4 wasn’t Nissan’s only still-born mid engined sports car. A Decade earlier, in 1975, the Nissan AD-1 had gone on public show for the first time at the 21st Tokyo Motor Show. The AD-1 was a neatly styled, aerodynamic little two seater coupe with a mid mounted transverse engine, similar in layout to Toyota’s MR2 which wasn’t launched until some nine years later.
The AD-1 was styled with the help of wind tunnel research with a view to achieving the best aerodynamics possible, something they achieved admirably with a mere 0.26 Cd, remarkable even by todays standards. The low drag, allied to the low kerb weight of just 740kg, would have helped the car to give quite lively performance whilst still retaining a relatively small and economical engine.
It seems every Car Graphic publication I come across is incredibly comprehensive and excellent value and this new set of books on Japanese Showcars displayed at the Tokyo Motorshow down the years is no exception. The series is divided into four parts covering the periods from 1954-1969 in part one, 1970-1979 in part two, then 1981-1989 for part three and finally 1990-1999 in part four. Each book runs to around 150-170 pages with hundreds of black and white and colour photographs of cars from all Japanese manufacturers. So far I have picked up the first two volumes and can say they are well worth getting hold of, particularly as although they are a Japanese publication, they also have plenty of text in English. All the usual concepts and showcars were are familiar with are covered, but also a great many that are all but unheard of. Also, many of the photographs of well known Nissan concepts such as the 126X, 216X and 270X are ones I have not seen before and include some engine bay and interior shots. If you don’t have a supplier of Japanese books and magazines locally then you should be able to find these books available on eBay without too much difficulty.